Round-up of Duke-NUS’ latest people news

At Duke-NUS, the year-end marked a time for celebration for the School as several of the School’s champions won top awards, while Professor Wang Linfa participated in Bloomberg’s New Economy Forum 2020. The new year similarly started on a high with the launch of the Hall of Master Academic Clinicians and a new partnership with Ximbio, the world's largest non-profit organisation dedicated to life science research tools.

Top awards for Duke-NUS champions

“I am so fortunate to have worked with so many outstanding, creative, and innovative individuals and for their lasting friendships. Words cannot express my gratitude for giving me such opportunities.”

Dean Ranga

Duke-NUS’ second dean, Professor Ranga Rama Krishnan, now chairman of Singapore’s National Medical Research Council (NMRC) and chief executive officer of Rush University System for Health (RUSH), was among four researchers affiliated with the National University of Singapore who received Singapore’s highest tribute in science and technology—the President’s Science and Technology Medal (PSTM)—from President Halimah Yacob at a special ceremony on 18 December 2020.

“Being in healthcare is very meaningful as it allows us to help people in their greatest time of need and where it truly matters—their health and improving their quality of life. It is also a recognition of the wonderful and excellent individuals and teams I have worked with in the SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre, who are passionate and committed to doing their best for each and every patient and who relentlessly strive to find new cures and breakthroughs.”

SingHealth Group CEO and Duke-NUS Governing Board member Clinical Professor Ivy Ng received the Outstanding Service Award at the National University of Singapore University Awards 2020. The award honours accomplished individuals from the NUS community who have sustained their exceptional contributions in serving the University and society. She spearheaded the partnership between SingHealth’s Academic Medicine and Duke-NUS Medical School which brought years of collaborative research, education and clinical care to develop better healthcare solutions.

“This award makes me feel challenged to continue contributing to science and making research advances that are meaningful. I hope that other young researchers who are just starting their careers and, particularly, young women in science can see that there are many rewards to pursuing research even if it requires significant effort and resilience.”

Associate Professor Ashley St. John from the School’s Emerging Infectious Diseases Programme was awarded the Young Researcher Award at the National University of Singapore University Awards 2020. As a viral immunologist, she studies immune responses to viral infections and her work has brought significant translational impact by curating content on her lab through social media. Part of the award includes a research grant with which Assoc Prof St John plans on investigating the neuro-immune interface.

“My work has focused on the role of thyroid hormone in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Several drug companies are developing thyromimetics for NAFLD based on this work. We believe that low dose thyroid hormone therapy also may be a potential alternative treatment.”

Paul Yen

Professor Paul Yen, Head of the Laboratory of Hormonal Regulation in the Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disorders Programme, received the 2020 Nagataki-Fujifilm Prize, the highest award bestowed by the Asia-Oceanic Thyroid Association for research contributions to basic and clinical thyroidology.

“Many people in Arcturus Therapeutics, the SingHealth Investigational Medicine Unit and my lab worked long hours and even over weekends to meet ambitious timelines so that vaccines would be available to the Singapore population sooner rather than later. This nomination would not be possible without them and would only be meaningful if done on their behalf.”


Professor Ooi Eng Eong, a professor in the Emerging Infectious Diseases Programme, was among six recipients of The Straits Times Asians of the Year award—collectively referred to as “the virus busters”—who, between them, capture the entire trajectory of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and enabled the complex, multi-stage process of preventing as many people around the world from getting the deadly disease in as little time as possible.

Duke-NUS unveils its Hall of Master Clinicians and inducts inaugural cohort of eight recipients

On 15 January, Duke-NUS launched the Hall of Master Academic Clinicians to recognise senior clinical faculty who have distinguished themselves in all areas of their careers. At the launch ceremony, eight outstanding clinician faculty were inducted into the Hall as the inaugural cohort of Master Academic Clinicians. 

These prominent senior clinician faculty combine clinical mastery, exemplary standards of professionalism, leadership and outstanding academic achievements. They offer inspiration to all those who aspire to careers in academic medicine. 

Master Academic Clinicians 2021

Wang Linfa joins virus hunter panel at Bloomberg’s New Economy Forum 2020

Wang Linfa, a professor with the Emerging Infectious Diseases Programme, was given the spotlight in the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in November 2020. He was joined by fellow virus hunters, EcoHealth Alliance President Peter Daszak and UCLA Field School Professor of Epidemiology Anne Rimoin.

Introduced by Bloomberg New Economy Forum Editorial Director Andrew Browne as one of the world’s leading virus hunters, Wang drew on his more than 30 years of experience in tracing the origins of zoonotic diseases as he talked about the lessons offered by the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, he highlighted how bats are ideal hosts for many diseases because these small flying mammals are not prone to sickness.

By bringing leading scientists tackling COVID-19 together, the Forum encouraged a deep dive into preventive measures of such pandemics and brought to light the impact of collaborative research.

Read more on Bloomberg.

New partnership will make Duke-NUS research tools more available to researchers everywhere

Duke-NUS Medical School’s novel research tools and antibodies will soon be available to researchers around the world through a new collaboration between the School’s Centre for Technology and Development (CTeD) and Ximbio. Ximbio is the research tools trading arm of Cancer Research Technology UK and the world’s largest non-profit organisation dedicated to life science research tools.

Associate Professor Chris Laing, Senior Associate Dean for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Duke-NUS, said, “The process of the discovery and development of new products often involves innovating in the creation of exciting new research tools. Our partnership with Ximbio will help us share these tools with researchers in both academia and industry around the world, pushing the envelope in life sciences.”

Read more: Duke-NUS partners with Ximbio to make research tools more readily available globally